Lake Metigoshe State Park


  • 14 miles northeast of Bottineau, ND, along the United States/Canadian border
  • 1,551 acres
  • Takes its name from the Chippewa phrase, “metigoche washegum,” or “clear lake surrounded by oak trees.”
  • Constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s
  • Located in the Turtle Mountains on the shores of Lake Metigoshe
  • Old Oak Trail: North Dakota’s first National Recreation Trail

October 2013

As mentioned, I had caught the travel bug although a grand trip to Hawaii isn’t always in the budget. I subsequently decided that my husband and I (or anyone else I could drag along with me) should start a slow tour of the state parks in North Dakota and Minnesota. We happened to be attending a wedding in nearby Dunseith, North Dakota, and it was the perfect opportunity to hit up Lake Metigoshe since it’s such a long haul otherwise.

The night of the wedding was great (beautiful bride, fun country atmosphere, and great friends); however, the weather was not promising to a hike the next day. It was windy and chilly running around in a dress and heels from church to reception, and we (us, North DakOtans…emphasis on the long “O”) happened to get our first early snow of the year.

deerMy husband and I were the only ones in the park as it was a Sunday and off-peak season. As soon as we pulled in (hadn’t yet parked), we came across some deer. You’re on your honor as far as paying for entrance although we felt we could part with the, I think it was $5 charge.

Hoarfrost2The morning we set out on our hike through Metigoshe was gorgeous! We appropriately bundled up, but stayed pleasantly warm with the activity. We chose to hike Old Oak Trail, plus a few of the lesser trails. The terrain was a long shot away from what we’d just pushed through at the Grand Canyon (for those of you that don’t know, most of North Dakota is really really flat).

Everything was covered with a fine layer of beautiful hoarfrost. The isolation and peace really made the day.Hoarfrost It would have been easy to scoff at the simple yet picturesque landscape; however, we spent the day admiring the contrast of red berries covered in frost or marveling at how the ducks and geese could tolerate the ice bath of Lake Metigoshe. Conversation was relaxed and plentiful, and we appreciated just breathing in crisp clean air.

Sign Lake Metigoshe

If I’m ever camping with my future kids or nearby again, I would definitely love to check it out in the summer to see what fishing, swimming, and camping is like!


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